Jury finds Shawn Thomas Gainey guilty of attempted second degree murder on Wednesday.
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Day one of the attempted second-degree murder trial of Shawn Thomas Gainey began on Tuesday in a Washington County courthouse with Chief Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson presiding.
Gainey was initially charged after a road-rage incident that occurred in January 2019. According to a Chipley Police Department report, Gainey and the alleged victim, Dan Reidel, were traveling separately on Highway 77 and had a minor accident causing both to pull over in front of One South Bank where a verbal altercation took place. A Chipley Police Officer observed the two vehicles partially blocking the right of way and pulled in behind to check on the situation. That is when the officer reportedly observed Gainey raise a gun and shoot Reidel in the head.
The prosecution presented their case calling 10 witnesses to the stand which included Reidel’s fiancé, Jessica Sellers, who witnessed the event, Chipley Police Lieutenant Michael Richter, lead investigator in the case. Other witnesses included occupants of Reidel’s vehicle, other law enforcement officials and various witnesses of the event.
Sellers testified to seeing the accident occur and the two trucks pulling to the side of the road. She also stated she saw Reidel exit his vehicle and exchange words with Gainey. Sellers said she got out of her car and went to Reidel in an attempt to stop any further escalation of the altercation. “I went to Dan’s truck to get him to get back in the vehicle,” she said. “Dan told me to go get back in my car because Gainey had a gun. When I turned to go, I looked to see who the other guy was and found myself staring down the barrel of a gun. When I got back to my car, I turned just in time to see Dan fall backwards after being shot.”
State Attorney Megan Ford asked Sellers about Reidel’s current health. “Dan is in a nursing home in Georgia,” Sellers said. “He is basically in a vegetative state. He is non-verbal and non-mobile. The hardest part of this is having to explain to our five-year-old son that he is not ever going to have his daddy at his side again. He doesn’t understand why and that isn’t fair.”
Defense Attorney Casey Bigelow in opening statements said the event was a justified self-defense shooting as Gainey was in fear for his life. Bigelow also stated that Gainey believed Reidel had a gun and was going to use it on him.
The defense is expected to call three witnesses on Wednesday when they begin their portion of the case. Gainey is also expected to testify in his own defense.
The Washington County News will update this story as the trial continues.
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